WESTON, Florida—Camilo Aguado had barely hit his drive on No. 14 Thursday when he heard the horn signifying the end of play due to darkness. Aguado will return Friday morning to complete his third round at the Mackenzie Tour’s first Qualifying Tournament, and he will do so with a comfortable cushion as he seeks Mackenzie Tour membership for the first time. The Colombian by way of Mexico City who currently lives in Miami after attending college in Alabama—did you get all that?—holds a five-shot lead over playing partner Jeremy Gandon. Aguado, currently a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica member, is at 18-under, with both players 3-under on the round played during a warm, sunny day at The Club at Weston Hills’ Players Course.
While Aguado has relied on quick starts in both of his first two trips around the Players Course, things began a little more slowly Thursday for the player who attended and played golf at Jacksonville State. Aguado started with two pars then made his first birdie of the day at the third hole. He added three more pars before giving the stroke back at the par-5 seventh, with only his second bogey of the tournament. He immediately bounced back with a birdie at the par-3 eighth, draining a five-footer. He made the turn to the back nine at 2-under.
After a two-putt birdie at 11 and a par at the 12th, he made the kind of shot that players in the lead make. Aguado missed the green with his tee shot at the par-3 13th. But because of all the rain over the first two days, officials allowed players preferred lies. When Aguado got to his ball that was 25 feet short of the green, he cleaned it and replaced it. Prior to hitting his second shot, though, he noticed the ball oscillated.
“I was making my practice swing and the ball moved. I called the rules official, and he told me because I didn’t do anything I could just play it,” explained Aguado, who proceeded to chip in for birdie to get to 18-under. “It wasn’t too hard. I could easily put it inside three feet, but it was a bonus to make it.”
Assessing his day overall, Aguado noted his work off the tee, from both a distance and accuracy standpoint. His putting was a bit more inconsistent. “I was a little [long] on certain putts then I missed a couple of really close ones—lipouts. I also made some,” he added. “So, it’s been a good round so far. I’m happy about the whole day.”
Gandon couldn’t mount a charge and was only able to stay even with Aguado, his playing partner. He made four birdies and a bogey during his 13-hole day.
The former Kansas State Wildcat was 2-under for the day when he made a disappointing bogey No. 8, hitting his tee shot long and unable to get up and down. He stayed in the mix, though, with birdie putts of nine feet at No. 10 and six feet at the 11th. Gandon also noted two good pars—at the fifth hole after short-siding himself with his approach shot and another at No. 13 when he again missed the green in regulation.
“I really kept the momentum going on those two holes,” he said. “It was solid today. I’m not striking it perfectly, but I’m not making a lot of mistakes. I’m pretty steady with my 3-under.”
Those players who did not finish their third rounds will resume play at 9 a.m., EST. Meanwhile, the final round will begin at 7 a.m. Once the third round is complete, officials will not regroup the players by score and they will continue playing in their third-round threesome.
Did you know Erik Flores was a member of the UCLA team that won the 2008 NCAA Championship? Flores, a four-time Pac-10 All-Conference first-team selection and a two-time second-team All-American, as well as a third-team player, was a mainstay on that Bruin team, along with current PGA TOUR player Kevin Chappell and former PGA TOUR player Lucas Lee. The Bruins defeated conference member Stanford by a shot in West Lafayette, Indiana, to win the school its 103rd national championship and first golf national championship in 20 years.